UN LUN DUN
Full of clever wordplay
and compelling characters, Mieville's novel is a tour de force. Deeba is a wonderful protagonist, and her adventures with a motley crew are both quirky and utterly realistic. Suitable for ages 10 and up, this rollicking, fantastical and altogether incredible novel will appeal to both adults and young readers.
Deeba and her friend, Zanna, find themselves transported to the fantastically bizarre world of Un Lun Dun -- or unLondon -- where Zanna has been proclaimed the Shwazzy, the Chosen One. Naturally, things begin to go wrong almost immediately, and when Zanna's put out of commission, it falls to Deeba to save Un Lun Dun from the menacing Smog and to confront people's perceptions about fate and prophesy -- just because she's not the Chosen One doesn't mean she can't save the world. (Del Rey, Mar., 448 pp., $17.95)